Motoring Correspondent Ian Lamming tests the Jeep Renegade:

IS it just me or does anyone else feel the need to shout ‘Yee ha, ride ’em cowboy’ every time you get behind the wheel of a Jeep.

It’s just they are so wild west, so Yankee doodle dandy, so Stars and Stripes…or are they? Well, they are owned by Fiat so there is the hint of Italiano about them too. Then, in a eureka moment, I see the common theme – spaghetti Westerns! But enough of this drivel; what’s Renegade like?

On a dreary summer’s day, when the cloud threatens to depress, Renegade brightens me and all around with its vivid yellow livery and cheeky persona.

It’s a modestly-sized SUV, but it is very much a jeep with a lower case j and an upper one as well. As you look through the steeply inclined rectangular windscreen you see bonnet and wings making you think you are in a bigger car than you are. It is square and substantial but it’s not huge and that leaves the driver thinking he is harder than he is; bit like a terrier wanting to sic a German shepherd.

Like a terrier Renegade is boisterous too, energetic, filled with fun and lively thanks to the motor. Guess what’s under the bonnet, go on, I dare you? I’ll give you a clue, it’s a petrol. How about a 1.6 litre or perhaps even a 2.0 litre? Wrong. You would never know to drive it but the powerplant is only 999cc, shared among three cylinders, with a turbo bolted on the top. Bonkers or what?

It’s surprising not only in the way it performs but also the way it sounds. The engine has real personality, bags of oomph and just over 40mpg economy.

The chassis is the perfect match with firm, sporty ride, positive steering, nimble nature. It will cruise all day on the straight stuff but loves a curve or two as well giving it a cheery nature to match its colour and styling, enhanced by the cool in-lamp LED running lights.

Inside is nice and Jeepy, highly specified, with chunky dash and well laid out controls. There’s plenty of nods to tradition but also the latest touchscreen infotainment to keep Renegade down with the kids.

Plenty to celebrate then. You betcha…yeeha, I say, ride ’em cowboy.

Fact File
Jeep Renegade
Engine: 1.0 petrol turbo
Power: 120HP
0-62mph: 11.2 secs
Top speed: 115mph
Combined MPG: 39.8
Transmission: Six speed manual
CO2 g/km: 134
Price: £27,955.00 (with options)